Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year End Ruminations

Me at my friend Ed's place on Laurel Street in Rehoboth Beach, DE - Master of my Universe

Well, here we are at the end of another year. Don't they seem to go by with ever increasing speed as we get older?  Remember those calendar page flipping scenes in those old 40's movies that show the passage of time?  That's the way I feel my life is going now.  

I was going to do a list recapping my past year, which has been some year.  Perhaps the most life changing year I've ever had in my life.  But I know  I'm bored to death when they do those year end lists on TV so I'll try and make this as painless as possible. Thus is my list of the pluses and minuses for Ron this year.

January - I had a prostate cancer biopsy. The procedure was painful and humiliating (stirrups with women walking around).  The outcome was that I was diagnosed with cancer in six of the twelve samples taken.  I guess this was a Plus, because I found the cancer and a Minus, because of the torture like procedure (they should use this on Al Qaida suspects) I had to undergo.  No anesthetic. MINUS.

Urology Associates - interrogation treatment center

If this "hobby horse" could talk - censored!

April - we had our first ever Bloggerpalooza.  This was where I actually got to meet face to face fellow bloggers.  The event was held at my workplace in Lewes and it was a great success.  So successful that we're having another one this year and will continue to do so as long as there is interest.  This one was a Plus.

Blogger pals Jay, Anne Marie, Java and me

Jay, Nate, Ciubby, Superman, Java, Doug, Michael, Ron and David at Stripper Bites

April - Bill and I made our annual trip South to visit his hometown in Toccoa Georgia.  We also visited my father's birthplace in the mountains of western North Carolina.  For the first time I wanted to visit my great-great grandfather John Tipton's grave (I just discovered its location this year).  I also wanted to introduce my cousin Bob Tipton and his wife to a distant relative of ours (our grandfather and her grandmother were brother and sister).  This was a plus and minus trip.  The plus was visiting the grave.  The minus was being threatened by her son because I was gay.  He told me not to step foot on their property or else I "would have to deal with him."  Why was I threatened you ask?  Because he asked if I practiced "the homosexual lifestyle."  After I told him I was gay he banned me from his parents' property.  Homophobia is alive and well in the western North Carolina mountains.

Upper Pigeon Roost Road, North Carolina

No longer welcomed because I "practice the homosexual lifestyle" guess who issued this proclamation?  Yep, "Bubba" on the right

April - I was asked to and did testify before both houses of the Delaware State legislature for marriage equality (same sex marriage).  Something I have never done before in my life and was nervous as Hell doing but I did it.  I don't know how much my testimony had to do with the passage of marriage equality for Delaware but I'm glad I had a part in it.

The press ready for the testimonies for Marriage Equality at the Delaware State Legistlature

Me in the gallery waiting for my turn to testify

Me out on the plaza being OUT again - much to Bill's chagrin

May -  I underwent brachytherapy seed implant for my prostate cancer.  Again, a plus because my cancer is being treated and a minus, because of the side effects which I am still suffering to this day and will for the next twelve months.  

The Tunnell Cancer Center - where my torture procedures were done

Checking in

No caption needed

July - after 49 years of living together, Bill and I got married.  Now I can die without having to worry that Bill will be homeless because he doesn't have the money to pay the death taxes on our home (which is in my name, which we did years to protect our assets).  

Me and Bill the day we got our marriage license - unbelievable 

Bill and I taking our marriage vows (Bill is hard of hearing)

Finally!  After 49 years….married!  

August - I met Pat, my alter ego.  After 71 years I met someone who is so much like me that he could be my brother.  More than my brothers because I don't always get along with them but I do Pat.  For those of you who can't quite figure out my relationship with Pat; let me assure you I am still with Bill and will stay married to Bill.  However, Pat is the friend I have been looking for all these years.  He is nonjudgmental, he has similar interests that I have, he has a wonderful sense of humor, he's not after me for my money (which I don't have anyway, I'm "house rich") and he's cute.  I enjoy being with Pat and he likes me.  What more can one ask for in a friend?  I have other friends but they are either straight and their wives are their first priority (which I understand) or they have other things going on in their lives and no time for me (telling it like it is folks).  Pat likes me and I like him and we can do things together that Bill and I don't do.  It is a simple as that.  It's not complicated.  


Me and Pat at Cafe Azafran in Rehoboth enjoying a vegan meal (Pat's a vegan)

Pat and me in my driveway with his little tan Fiat that he drove all the way down from Toronto, Canada

Pat on the Boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach - Pat is a lot of fun - no strings, bad vibes or judgements with Pat - just a good time

September - My kidney stones returned.  First on the left side resulting in a visit to the ER.  Then a week later on the right side….another visit to the ER.  This kidney stone didn't pass like the previous one.  My doctor advised "five days for it to pass."  This was over the Labor Day Weekend.  Eight days passed before I had to go to the ER again, this time resulting in a two night stay in the hospital and an operation to "blast" the stuck kidney stone which had not moved after eight days.  On the third ER visit I was sure I was "checking out" of this world.  I surprised myself because I got all teary eyed thinking of everything I had not had time to do.  But I survived.  However, my operation to blast the stuck kidney stone resulted in having a stent placed in my ureter canal (urinary canal) for two weeks then another operation for a "water bath" to remove the three remaining kidney stones stuck at the top of my ureter canal.  I had more surgical operations this year folks (three) that I've had in my entire life.  I survived.  Oh, did I mention the excruciating pain during this whole kidney stone drama?  All I can say is imagine the worst and then go ten times.  That's how it felt at times but I'm here now to write about it for which I am thankful. Minuses and pluses here folks.  Choose your favorite.

First kidney stone passed - the others didn't

Infused with pain killers waiting for the other kidney stone that was stuck to pass - EIGHT DAYS - it didn't pass

One of three Emergency Room visits to pass kidney stones on both sides - when it rains it pours

Bill waiting in the ER for me 
Out of the ER and into a hospital bed on my 3rd ER visit - pain was unbearable - jammed full of pain killers in this photo
Then I had my last surgery to blast the three remaining kidney stones - surgery performed at the Milford Hospital thus completing the trifecta of operations for me this year: 

Tunnel Cancer Center
Beebe Hospital
Milford Hospital - do I win a prize?

"I don't remember a thing, that sure was some good anesthesia!"  

October - I had my bi-annual Tipton Family Reunion.  It was a bust.  I don't know why, but most of my family just isn't interested in attending the family reunion including my two brothers and their family.  I was disappointed and hurt and will never have another family reunion.  A definite Minus. 

Basically, this was the reunion - a few hardy folks who were interested 

Plenty of room at the pavilion

I don't know who brought the cake but I thank them

Me discussing something with my cousin Richard Tipton who catered the reunion - we had plenty of food leftover

November - I realized a dream of many years to revisit my former hometown and place of employment of Philadelphia.  For years I wanted a "last blast" of walking those city streets that I walked from 1965 to 1997 but I didn't want to do it by myself.  Bill doesn't like to travel.  For years I vacationed alone in Provincetown.  I did not want to visit Philadelphia alone.  Fortunately for me my alter ego, Pat, graciously consented to go with me.  Oh sure, at time I came close to boring him to death walking him to many of my old haunts and relating my memories of those places and people to him, but, bless his heart, he never complained once.  See why I like Pat?  Anyway, my "last blast" trip was everything I had hoped it would be.  A definite PLUS.  

View of Walnut Street from our room at the Latham Hotel

Me and Pat in center city Philadelphia - walking those mean streets

December - and here we are at the end of the year. I'm still working (two nights a week) at a job that I like with folks that I like.  My job gives me the opportunity to meet people and be in situations that I still matter.  I need to be "professional" at least a couple of times a week.  This works for me.  Also, my job enables me to make some extra money which I can do "last blasts" and pay $300 a year for my Ancestry.com membership, which I rarely use.  Little extravagances like this matter to me, especially at this time of my life.  Another definite PLUS.

A rough year folks but I survived and am ready for next year

A few weeks ago, checking names for my Christmas card list, I discovered two more friends and co-worker from my former life had passed on.  Both were younger than me.  I know that now I'm operating on Gravy Time.  Each day is a gift.  And that definitely is a PLUS.

Happy New Year everyone!  See you next year.


nitewrit said...


So let's see, you spent half the year lying about in one sort of bed or another. Here's hoping you stay on your feet all of 2014. Happy New Year!


Ron said...

I spend a lot of time in bed these days. In fact I think it's time for my daily nap now. Happy New Year!

Amanda said...

You had lots of low in 2013 but also some highs that were really amazing! Wishing you, Bill, Pat and all your followers a wonderful, healthy, meaningful new year!

anne marie in philly said...

happy 2024, ron and bill!

your relative "bubba" looks like a real sweetheart - NOT! looks like a homophobic pig to me. perhaps your marriage had something to do with the low family reunion attendance?

oh well, fuck them. you have pat and all your blogger friends. we internet friends are all family anyway without the drama.

pat888 said...


That was a really big year you had!! (to be spoken like Ed Sulluvan Boy you sure soldiered on amazingly well. And you sure caused some concern among your daily followers - a great bunch of supporters. I really liked the shot of you in gown with the caption - no caption necessary. You sure didn't lose your sense of humour. Anyways - looking forward to 2014 as another big year - I'll see you down in Lewes in March. And now that I see I'm a complete saint I'll really have to be good. Enjoy the last nite!!


Anonymous said...

Honestly, considering how all the health stuff has worked out, I'd say there's more on the plus side this year! Good for you! And I cannot wait for Bloggerpalooza v2.0!

Peace <3

Jon said...

The minuses that you had in 2013 were truly horrible, but it's obvious that the pluses outweighed them.
I hope that 2014 will be filled with many more glorious pluses for you!

I had actually planned to send everyone (friends & family) New Year's cards, but thanks to my toothache I never got around to it. I very seldom get sick, but this year I got the flu on Thanksgiving and I seem to have been sick with one thing or another ever since.
Anyway, Happy New Year to you and Bill.

Ron said...

Thank you Jon. I hope 2014 is the year for you.


Ron said...


Definitely more on the Plus side this year, especially now that Bill and I are officially married and thus no longer "less than" and meeting Par. Both big PLUSES! Happy New Year Jay.

Ron said...

You meet me at a time of my life in which I had the most medical procedures in this year versus all my other years combined. If you can stick with me through these, you are a saint. I am not an easy person to be with. To put up with me does take the patience of a saint. Both you and Bill have passed that test. You haven't abandoned me or ever taken me for granted. I appreciate that loyalty and I repay it tenfold. Happy New Year Pat!

Ron said...

Anne Marie,
You right on the mark with your assessment of my redneck, homophobic mountain man cousin. You know what they say, "You can pick your nose but you can't pick your relatives." And yes, the low attendance was definitely because I got married and Bill attended with me. I appreciate the relatives who were there, including my cousin and his wife who were with me in North Carolina when my homophobic cousin threatened me, but the ones who didn't attend? I'm done with most of them. I'm tired of pushing rope. I know who my friends are. Any efforts in the future I put forth will be for me and my real friends. May sound harsh. It am tired and just too old to keep trying to be accepted for who I am. I'm too old for this drama. What few years I have left I want to be happy and pleasant. All other I leave behind as lessons learned. Happy New Year Anne Marie!

Ron said...

Thank you Nadege and you have a Happy New Year too!


anne marie in philly said...

yep. I would rather hang with my blogger and other internet friends than my own sister. she is a weirdo.

Ur-spo said...

2013 was quite an amazing year for you; I hope 2014 is even more marvelous and with less stones.

Raybeard said...

Had to skip the medical bits here, Ron, which I hope you'll understand - though my own time will eventually come and I won't be able to.
Yes, it's odd (and unfair) how the passage of time accelerates as one gets older. It seems that the more one appreciates life the faster it is swept from under ones feet. It just isn't playing the game right!
Happy New Year to you and yours, Ron - with wishes for far fewer health concerns above all.

Ron said...

Anne Marie,
I'm more relaxed with my friends that I've met through blogging too Anne Marie. Interesting dynamic isn't it?

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,
Oh I do hope I'm done with the kidney stones. By the time it takes to form new kidney stones, I really will be gone to the great Bloggerpalooza in the sky.

Ron said...

I hope you never have to go through the kidney stone episodes. No description adequately describes the intensity of pain and discomfort of a kidney stone that is passing. You literally want to die just to make it stop. Now if our government could find a way to replicate that pain, then they would be tops in the torture field, not that they're not trying.
Happy new year to you too Ray!

Amanda said...

It is said that is because you chose your friends but not your family. Anyway, I just wanted to write a quick note to let you know how I enjoy your new banner. (I am so glad the holidays are over with).